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Polls Show Obama Benefits from Economic Concerns

New poll results indicate that U.S. voters are concerned with the financial crisis and it is having an impact on the presidential election campaign between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone is monitoring the shifting trends from Washington.

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Senator Obama leading Senator McCain by 50 to 46 percent. Last week, Obama held a nine-point lead.

But Quinnipiac University's latest survey in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania finds Obama leading McCain by a substantial margin in all three states, which are considered critical in the state-by-state electoral voting on November 4.

Obama leads McCain by eight points in both Ohio and Florida, and by 15 points in Pennsylvania.

Quinnipiac polling director Peter Brown says voter concerns about the economy and the ongoing financial crisis appear to be helping Obama and hurting McCain.

"Largely, it is the economy," said Peter Brown. "Fairly or not, voters blame the incumbent party for the mess on Wall Street. And that has certainly redounded to Senator Obama's favor and to Senator McCain's detriment."

Both presidential candidates say they support a revamped financial rescue plan in Congress, and both now spend much of their time on the campaign trail talking about economic issues.

This is Senator McCain during a campaign stop in Missouri:

"If we fail to act, the gears of our economy will grind to a halt," said John McCain. "This is a moment of great testing. At such moments, there are those on both sides of this debate who will act on principle."

McCain says he is better equipped to deal with the economic problems because of his record as a budget-cutter and as a political maverick willing to work with both major political parties during his long tenure in Congress.

Senator Obama has made economic concerns the centerpiece of his argument that his election as president would bring change to Washington.

Obama says it is important for Congress to act quickly in a bipartisan way on the credit crisis. But Obama also leaves no doubt that he is blaming eight years of Bush administration economic policies for the current problems.

"This crisis in the final verdict on this failed philosophy, a philosophy that we cannot afford to continue," said Barack Obama. "We cannot have eight more years of this philosophy. And that is why I am running for president of the United States of America!"

The next major event in the campaign is Thursday's debate between the two vice presidential candidates, Republican Sarah Palin and Democratic Senator Joe Biden.

Most experts give Biden an edge heading in the debate because of his long experience as a Senator in Washington, and because Palin has seemed hesitant in recent television interviews.

But Palin did get good reviews in her debates when she ran for Alaska governor two years ago and won, and some analysts say a competent performance in Thursday's debate could ease some doubts that she is up to the job of being vice president.